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Keywords:

  • CHINCHORRO;
  • SEM;
  • SEDIMENT;
  • MORTUARY;
  • CHILE

We use scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy-dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) to analyse clay sediments used during the mummification process of Chinchorro mummies from northern Chile. The significance of this study is that no prior work has characterized the sediment used by the Chinchorro during mortuary preparation and this approach offers a necessary preliminary step towards identifying modern equivalents for the materials used by the Chinchorro. Understanding the unique characteristics of this material may also help understand why they are so well preserved and aid in the future curation of Chinchorro mummies.